Chesterfield culinary teacher, 7 others in the running for Virginia’s Teacher of the Year

Chesterfield culinary teacher, 7 others in the running for Virginia’s Teacher of the Year
Sara Jurewicz stands with flowers after being honored as the 2021 Virginia Region 1 Teacher of the Year. (Source: Chesterfield County Public Schools)

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - While teaching a virtual class on Friday afternoon, one Chesterfield educator found out she was one of seven teachers in the running for Virginia’s Teacher of the Year.

Chesterfield culinary arts educator Sara Jurewicz was named Teacher of the Year in Region 1, which includes Chesterfield County. A Facebook post from the county stated that Jurewicz heard the news while teaching an online class at the Chesterfield Career and Technical Center.

A teacher from one of the eight regions will be selected in October as the 2021 Virginia Teacher of the Year.

“Our 2021 regional teachers of the year embody all of the qualities we admire in our teachers," said Virginia first lady and former teacher Pam Northam. "They are committed to academic excellence and to creating inclusive learning environments that support the social and emotional health of their students.”

The eight 2021 Virginia Regional Teachers of the Year:

  • Sarah F. Jurewicz, Culinary Arts I and II (Baking and Pastry Arts) teacher at the Chesterfield Career and Technical Center in Chesterfield County (Region 1)
  • Alisa T. Smith, a Spanish teacher at Jamestown High in Williamsburg-James City County (Region 2)
  • Kimberly G. Cannon, a U.S. History teacher at Stafford Middle in Stafford County (Region 3)
  • Lisa M. Rode, a sixth-grade teacher at Kings Glen Elementary in Fairfax County (Region 4)
  • Lisa S. Cooper, a first-grade teacher at Bessie Weller Elementary in Staunton (Region 5)
  • Anthony Swann, a fifth-grade teacher at Rocky Mount Elementary in Franklin County (Region 6)
  • Sarah M. Biggs, a first- and second-grade reading teacher at High Point Elementary in Washington County (Region 7)
  • Victoria S. Soyars, a Geometry teacher at Park View High in Mecklenburg County (Region 8)

The teachers were selected from candidates nominated by school divisions in each of the state’s eight superintendents regions. The candidates submitted portfolios highlighting their accomplishments, educational philosophies and community activities.

Next month, a panel will interview each of the eight teachers to select the 2021 Virginia Teacher of the Year. The decision will be announced on Thursday, Oct. 8 during a virtual ceremony.

Three previous Virginia teachers — Mary V. Bicouvaris, the 1989 Virginia Teacher of the Year; B. Philip Bigler, the 1998 Virginia Teacher of the Year; and Rodney A. Robinson, the 2019 Virginia Teacher of the Year — went on to be named National Teachers of the Year.

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